Elections under COVID-19 in Australia: an update on recent experiences and lessons for the future

Electoral Regulation Research Network recorded seminar

Thursday 26 November 2020


  • Damian Cantwell, ACT Electoral Commissioner
  • Warwick Gately, Victorian Electoral Commissioner
  • Iain Loganathan, NT Electoral Commissioner
  • Tom Rogers, NT Electoral Commissioner


  • Dr Dominique Dalla-Pozza, Senior Lecturer, Law School, ANU College of Law

About the Talk:

This webinar will explore the responses to the Covid-19 challenge adopted at recent electoral processes in Australia, and seek to identify the longer term implications of work practices which Australian election administrators have been forced by the pandemic to adopt.

This webinar is a joint initiative of the Electoral Regulation Research Network (ERRN), Melbourne School of Government and the Gilbert + Tobin Centre of Public Law at the University of New South Wales.

The Speakers:

Damian Cantwell is the ACT Electoral Commissioner, an independent statutory office holder under the ACT Electoral Act 1992 and an officer of the ACT Legislative Assembly. He is responsible for the conduct of elections and referendums for the Legislative Assembly; the determination of electoral boundaries; and provision of electoral information, education, advice and services to a wide range of clients. Prior to assuming his position in November 2017, Damian served full time in the Australian Defence Force for 37 years, achieving the rank of Brigadier. He continues his military service in a part time capacity as Commander of the Army’s 9th Brigade, responsible for command of assigned reserve forces in South Australia and Tasmania. He considers himself greatly privileged to serve both the ACT community and our nation.

Warwick Gately’s early career was with the Royal Australian Navy. Joining the Western Australian Electoral Commission in 2003, he conducted three State General elections, local council elections and referendums on retail trading hours and daylight saving. He oversaw the redrawing of the State’s electoral boundaries under “one vote, one value” legislation. In April 2013, he was appointed as the Electoral Commissioner for Victoria with responsibility for the administration of the State’s register of electors and the conduct of Parliamentary and local council elections as well as referendums and various statutory polls in Victoria. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science and Government, a Master’s Degree in Defence studies and is a graduate of the Institute of Company Directors.

Iain Loganathan is the NT Electoral Commissioner and has been in that role since 2014. Mr Loganathan was previously the Northern Territory Manager for the AEC from 2004 to 2010. An NT Legislative Assembly election was conducted in August 2020 and Mr Loganathan will discuss the issues and challenges in delivering voting services to remote Aboriginal electors during a pandemic.

Tom Rogers graduated from the Royal Military College (RMC) Duntroon in 1983 and served in the Australian Defence Force Academy, Senior Instructor in Leadership at RMC Duntroon, and Commander of a United Nations observer mission. After he left the Australian Army in 2000, Tom worked for Raytheon Australia, as a senior project manager and led the team that delivered the Sydney Olympics’ major preparedness and readiness activity. Tom was the Director of Programs and then Executive Director at the Australian Institute of Police Management (AIPM), which is administered by the Australian Federal Police to deliver highly respected executive development programs for leaders and future leaders of Australasian police and other public safety organisations. Tom was appointed the Australian Electoral Commissioner in 2014, having previously filled roles as the Deputy Electoral Commissioner and the Australian Electoral Commission’s state manager (and Australian Electoral Officer) for NSW.